NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Spots 3 Planetary Nebulas

October 29, 2013 12:06 PM

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NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope captured images of three planetary nebulas, which emit ionized gases, plasma and dust from dying stars. They end their lives in supernova explosions. Stars usually undergo supernova or stellar explosions after they attain a weight of more than 8 stellar masses.

"Some might call the images haunting," said Joseph Hora of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass., principal investigator of the Spitzer observing program. "We look to the pictures for a sense of the history of the stars' mass loss, and to learn how they evolved over time....

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